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Published on March 5th, 2022 | by Darren Paltrowitz


Henry Rollins On His Upcoming U.S. Tour, Working With David Lee Roth, Appearing On “You’re The Worst,” Career Plans & More

Henry Rollins has had a 40+year career like no other. As a singer, he led the Rollins Band through more than a dozen albums, which followed more than a half-dozen releases with Black Flag. As a spoken word artist, he has released numerous audiobooks, albums and home videos. Rollins has also been successful as an actor, television host, podcaster and record label owner. Decades later, he remains the rare entertainer that is embraced by both mainstream and indie-minded fans.

Next week, Henry Rollins will be kicking off yet another highly-anticipated (likely to be sold-out) tour at Michigan’s Royal Oak Music Hall on March 12, 2022. The tour will ultimately take him north, south, east and west of Michigan, including stops in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Oregon, Utah, Canada and the Carolinas. It is set to wrap on June 9, 2022 at the Arts & Culture Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

To learn more about the past, present and future of Henry Rollins, I had the pleasure of doing some Q&A with the entertainment industry legend via email in December 2021. More on Rollins, including his upcoming tour dates, can be found online by clicking here, here, here, here and here.

When I interviewed you for the first time, in 2000, I asked you what you felt your top accomplishment was and just said that it was that you’re “still doing it.” In other words, that you were still in entertainment all those years later and doing things at a high level. 22 years later, is that still your proudest accomplishment?

Henry Rollins: Not trying to be difficult and I see what you’re getting at, but I do my best to avoid the feeling of pride at all costs. I try to distance myself from ambition as well. I show up and do the work as best as I can. If you switched out pride for desperation and a desire to not waste time and resources, you would probably be closer to my ethos. I’m still showing up to work as best I can.

As far as being able to do all this stuff at 40+plus years after starting, I’m just grateful. Someone in my position is a tree falling in the forest, asking to be heard. That anyone cares about what I do, it’s surprising and I am, as I said, grateful. I think at some point, you become what you do or what you did. I’d like to be in the “do” part of that as long as I can.

In that same 2000 era, you had a multi-faceted career like you still do, but I don’t remember your spoken word performances being your main career focus. Around when did spoken word performances become your main outlet for performing?

Henry Rollins: I stopped doing music in the early part of this century. I no longer had anything to say lyrically, so I stopped. I’m not much of a careerist, so I just let other things fill in the gap left by no music writing/recording/touring. Thankfully, I had other things I could do. The talking show tours expanded in this time absolutely. When an agent offers me a lot of shows, about 100% of the time, I’ll say yes, please. I reckon that when it comes to me, everything I do has a “use by” date. Nothing of what I do is a guarantee of getting to do it again.

Without naming names, I think that a lot of people were influenced by your career path, as someone who is able to podcast, do live headlining performances, act, write books, and so forth. Who initially inspired you as a businessman? Or at least to have this sort of multi-faceted career?

Henry Rollins: As far as business, “work hard and be honest” is as much as I’ve ever thought that through. As to how to do that on a visible level in the marketplace, my influence would be Ian MacKaye and his label Dischord Records. As to doing more than one thing, the 1980s would be the influence. I remember in the summer of 1984, I was on tour and noticed that all the bands around me were very talented. Minor Threat, Husker Du, Saint Vitus, Meat Puppets and many others. I also noticed that the level of talent in the individuals was high. Between tours, they’re for the most part, working “straight” jobs” and getting by. I have no talent. If they’re struggling, I’m as good as dead.

From touring, I saw what a rough room the USA is. I reckoned that in order to keep eating, I better come up with other things to do. Plans B, C, D, etc. I was starting to write in those days. Okay, I’ll work on that harder. I started doing the talking shows. Okay, get better at those and say yes to any show I can get. I was offered a part in a student film, okay, better throw myself at that. Can I pull any of this off? I’m too busy trying to notice. This is the desperation I’m talking about. I’m a high school graduate from the minimum wage working world of the 1970s. Hopefully, I will die trying.

You have a lot of touring planned for 2022, both in the States, Canada and overseas. Is there anywhere you still hope to tour that you haven’t yet performed in?

Henry Rollins: I’ll go anywhere I can. Only speaking English is a limitation. I’m willing to go pretty much anywhere for a show, but as to a single country, no, I can’t think of any specific place I want to perform that I haven’t yet. I’m not in the position to be choosy or demand a certain place for a show.

You had an excellent cameo on the TV show You’re The Worst. Was that a show you were familiar with before being cast for that appearance as yourself?

Henry Rollins: I just looked up the show. I have no memory of being on it, none. Glad you liked what I did!

One of my favorite projects you were involved with was David Lee Roth’s Crazy From The Heat autobiography. Around that time there were reports of you “advising” Dave on a spoken word album or accompanying project. Any recollection of what happened with that one?

Henry Rollins: I worked with DLR closely on that project. At one point, he expressed interest in being onstage and telling stories from the book, I think. As I remember, I suggested that he have someone onstage with him to ask him questions that would prompt the stories. I think the record idea sprang from the fact that he did the book out loud onto tape. Almost 100 hours, which I have listened through three times.

The man has a blazing intellect. He is a multi-lingual, multi-disciplined self-starter. He is a voracious reader and student of history. Mark Twain meets Groucho Marx, who’s also a black belt. That’s DLR. The book came out and did really well. It’s a great read and only a fraction of what he put on tape. He’s had an eventful life.

When I interviewed your old friend Kennedy, she told me a story of you two listening to The Jerky Boys and laughing hysterically, but Dave not finding it funny, feeling that the people on the phone with The Jerky Boys were not in on the joke. Is that a sign that we, the everyday people, don’t know a lot about David Lee Roth beyond the music?

Henry Rollins: I think he’s a warrior and in that, he wouldn’t dig someone being disadvantaged and made sport of. If he showed up to a sword fight and the other guy didn’t have a sword, DLR would wait for a sword to be brought in for the other guy and then commence. I don’t remember the story, but I’m not surprised he wasn’t into it.

Last Roth question: Is he the greatest rock frontman of all time?

Henry Rollins: One of the many great things about music is that there’s a ton of room. DLR is one of the greats, absolutely. Along with Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Lux Interior, David Bowie, Perry Ferrell, etc.

Finally, Henry, any last words for the kids?

Henry Rollins: Push old people out of the way and take control.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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